Historical Commission

Historical Commissions are an important part of municipal government. Historical Commissions:

  • Advise elected officials and other boards on historic preservation issues. Issues could include demolition of historic buildings, zoning changes, the re-use of municipally owned historic buildings, master planning or preservation of historic landscapes.
  • May occasionally receive inquiries from the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) or state or federal agencies asking for comments on a proposed “state or federally involved” project in your community that may impact on historical or archaeological resources. Section 106 and Chapter 254 are federal and state laws that require MHC review when a state or federally involved project is undertaken in Massachusetts.
  • Are responsible for community-wide historic preservation planning, and may find that a Preservation Plan is needed to better coordinate the many activities that will help to preserve the community.

Similar Names and Different Responsibilities (From MHC)  
A Historical Commission is often confused with a Local Historic District Commission and a Historical Society. It is important that you understand the difference between these three organizations.

  • Local Historical Commissions are the official agents of municipal government responsible for community-wide historic preservation planning. 
  • Local Historic District Commissions are the review authority responsible for regulatory design review within designated local historic districts created through town meeting or city council vote. Note that in some communities with local historic districts, the Historical Commission and Historic District Commission are combined.
  • Historical Society is a private, non-profit organization. Historical Societies often preserve local history through house museums, maintaining collections and records and public programs.

Board Members

Name Title
Rebecca Smith Chair
Therisa Cook Vice Chair
Robyn Chrabascz Clerk
Lynn Greene Member
Rodney Kincaid Member